Photo Essay: Manipulation Through Repetition
by Carson Lynn
At the cornerstone of my art is photography’s inability to be an accurate form of representation. The photograph, at it’s core, is unreliable and corruptible. In a way, it’s the ultimate tool of censorship, with the photographer being in total control of what an audience is allowed to see.
This is especially apparent today with the rise of falsified truths being the basis for unfounded beliefs.
One of my favorite tools for showcasing the flaw in photography is abstracting light through the use of re-photography. In this particular ongoing project, I started with virtual landscapes as the basis, and then, through repeated re-capturings and manipulations, abstracted the “natural” forms in order to distance the landscape from its stereotypical use for travel photography.
Here are the basic steps I took to create the images:
Step 1: The starting photographs are images of screens of landscapes found in the video game Destiny 2. These spaces were found through glitching through the game’s geometry to get “out-of-bounds” so no foreground elements would be blocking any visual striking elements. The gun of the player avatar was still showing, so the exposures had to be made by switching between weapons and timing the picture to capture when no weapons were visible on screen. The moire pattern from the pixels of the screen is intentional and serves as a tool of further abstraction by not hiding the materiality of the screen.
Step 2: Multiple images were taken on a hike north of San Francisco and compiled into three-dimensional models by utilizing a photogrammetry program. These models were then rendered in black-and-white with pixelated textures. These renders were then used as displacement maps on the images captured in Destiny 2. Some were only partially manipulated by the displacement, while others were completely changed.
While all of my photographic artworks start in this manner, I will probably utilize further manipulations in the final project. Constant experimentation is the key to my process, and this process does not benefit from hesitation and creative doubt. My most ridiculous ideas are often my best.